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Residents panic as snakes arrive

PANIC is spreading among residents in a community on Wuzhong Road in Minhang District due to some unexpected visitors - snakes.

They are being reported in trees or hiding in the grass, yesterday's Youth Daily reported.

A resident called Uki told the newspaper online that his father had come across a 1-meter-long snake when he was walking on a path near the river.

The man called janitors but the snake had made its escape by the time they arrived.

Community security guards said they saw two snakes in trees during a routine patrol and more snakes near to the tennis court.

Uki said the community had more than 1,000 households and many children liked playing in bushes or on the grass.

A female cleaner surnamed Wang said she encountered a snake when she was washing dish cloths. She screamed and ran away.

A male cleaner, called Fang, said he saw two women and a man release three bags of snakes, two boxes of birds and some frogs at the river beside the community a month ago.

Most of the snakes rushed to the river but others climbed to the bank. It was not the first time, said a security guard, that people had set small animals free by the river.

Most of the residents were afraid of being harmed by the snakes and worried about their safety and that of their children, he said.

City wildlife experts said setting animals free near residential neighborhoods wasn't good for their future, in addition to posing problems for the people who lived there.

An expert at city's wildlife protection station told the newspaper wildlife should be set free far away from local residences.

But he added that most snakes sold in the city wouldn't pose a threat to the public.

The property management company of the community said they would take action to solve the problem while the city's forestry authority suggested people send poisonous wild animals to zoos and set harmless wildlife free in forests.

Du Wenjun, a lawyer, said China had no rules on setting animals free. But he suggested people obtain permission before setting them free in forests.

For species alien to the area, the advance approval of experts was necessary to make sure they didn't destroy the local ecology, Du added.


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